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CHAN 5139
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CHAN 5139

Mendelssohn: Mendelssohn in Birmingham, Volume 2

The Classical Shop
release date: September 2014

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2013


City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Edward Gardner


Town Hall, Birmingham


Brian Pidgeon


Ralph Couzens

Jonathan Cooper


Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos


Total Time - 74:15
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Overture to 'Ruy Blas', Op. 95

  Lento - Allegro molto - Lento - Allegro molto - Lento - Allegro molto -  

Symphony No. 1, Op. 11

  in C minor - in c-Moll - en ut mineur  
  Der Philharmonischen Gesellschaft in London gewidmet  
2 Allegro di molto 9:42
3 Andante 5:50
4 Menuetto. Allegro molto - Trio - Menuetto Da Capo senza Replica 6:20
5 Allegro con fuoco - Più stretto 7:53

Symphony No. 3, Op. 56 'Scottish'

  in A minor - in a-Moll - en la mineur  
  Der Königin Victoria von England gewidmet  
6 Andante con moto - Allegro un poco agitato - Assai animato - 15:14
7 Vivace non troppo - 4:14
8 Adagio - 8:51
9 Allegro vivacissimo - Allegro maestoso assai 8:51
  TT 74:50      
 Edward Gardner
  25 and 26 October 2013 (Symphonies Nos 1 and 3); 16 February 2014 (Overture to Ruy Blas)  

Mendelssohn: Symphonies 1 and 3; Overture to Ruy Blas – City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Edward Gardner

Edward Gardner and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra present Volume 2 in their series Mendelssohn in Birmingham; this time they perform Symphonies Nos 1 and 3 and the Overture to Ruy Blas. The impressive first volume was roundly praised, International Record Review commending the ‘powerfully engaging and alert performances’, while The Sunday Times made it their ‘Album of the Week’.

Among the fruits of his prodigiously gifted youth were thirteen string symphonies, which Mendelssohn composed privately as ‘practice’ pieces. At age fifteen he returned to the last of these, expanded the orchestration, and published it as the first of his mature numbered symphonies. As heard here, this energetic work, bursting with youthful high spirits, shows the influence of Mozart, Beethoven, and Weber, but that influence is always absorbed in a personal way.

Although numbered as the third of five, the ‘Scottish’ Symphony was actually the last which Mendelssohn composed. Inspiration for it had come while Mendelssohn was visiting Edinburgh in 1829. He was immediately moved to compose the brooding melody that begins and ends the work, but not until 1842 did he actually finish this masterpiece.

No such time span was needed to complete the Overture to Victor Hugo’s tragedy Ruy Blas, which was commissioned only three days before the production’s opening night. Mendelssohn loathed Hugo’s drama and though the opening is suitably sombre, the rest of the overture disregards the play’s form and character, concluding in celebration where Hugo’s story culminates in murder and suicide.

 “… Edward Gardner approaches the ‘Scottish’ vigorously … The neglected First Symphony is given a dashing performance … Ruy Blas is superbly done: strong, positive … exceptionally fine reading of the ‘Scottish’ Symphony.”

Antony Hodgson – – 18 June 2015

 “… Gardner and the CBSO give the most wonderfully atmospheric performance of the “Scottish Symphony” … I believe you will find this an extraordinarily mood-inducing performance. Beyond the finely-honed playing of the Birmingham musicians, Gardner’s reading is exceptionally well paced … this is one of the best I think I’ve heard …”
Jerry Dubins – Fanfare – March/April 2015

"...The disc is well recorded and has excellent notes by Bayan Northcott. There are many fine recordings of Mendelssohn’s symphonies either as a whole or individually but this is a very 
worthwhile addition to the catalogue, especially for the performance of the Symphony No. 1."
John Sheppard - - 1 December 2014


"This second volume in this Birmingham Town hall series has the same musical and sonic excellence as its predecessor ..."

Christopher Breunig - Hi-Fi News - 2 December 2014 

                 Orchestral Choice

      Performance *****          Recording *****
“Edward Gardner conducts these pieces with a highly satisfying blend of freedom and discipline…” 
Roger Nichols – BBC Music magazine – December 2014

“… the orchestral playing is of a consistently high standard, and the recording quality is exceptionally fine…”

Robert Matthew-Walker – International Record Review – October 2014

                  Album of the Week

“…In these lithe, dramatic performances, both seem effortless, spontaneously inspired. In the A minor, Gardner makes light of the composer’s debt to Mozart’s G minor Symphony, while the Scottish is compelling from first to last.”

Hugh Canning – The Sunday Times (Culture magazine) – 21 September 2014

 “…The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and its principal guest conductor, Edward Gardner, prove to be interpreters in the best tradition of the city … splendidly vital performances that go at quite a lick…” ****

Richard Fairman – Financial Times – 22 August 2014 

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